Three Democrats and three Republicans introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to amend the US Constitution so that marriage is defined as strictly a union between a man and a woman. US Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), David Vitter (R-LA), Ralph M. Hall (D-TX), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC) introduced the Federal Marriage Amendment, which seeks to permanently ban same-sex marriages from being legally recognized. If the bill, which also was introduced a year ago, were to become a constitutional amendment – it would first have to pass a joint session of Congress by a supermajority of two-thirds and be ratified by the legislatures of 38 states within 10 years.
“The Federal Marriage Amendment is arguably the last gasp of conservative Christians, who are fighting a losing battle against the rise of gay and lesbian families and their increasing status in society,” Ann Rostow wrote for Gay.com and PlanetOut.com. “A recent Gallup poll suggested six in 10 Americans support giving legal rights to same-sex couples.”
Texas recently became the 37th state to pass a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The Federal Marriage Amendment is seen as an attempt by conservative forces to counteract possible court rulings that would nullify the 37 state DOMA laws as well as the 1996 federal DOMA law. Massachusetts is currently considering a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that also would prevent state recognition of civil unions and prohibit domestic partners from receiving health benefits.
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